Ethical Standard Deep Dive: Standard 11

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Throughout the month of October, members of the AFP Ethics Committee will be addressing each of the standards in our Code of Ethics. Fernando Rodríguez Hernández discusses Standard 11 about disparaging competitors.

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Standard 11: Members shall refrain from any activity designed to disparage competitors untruthfully.

Fernando: As part of your responsibility to your nonprofit, a fundraiser has to preserve the name and reputation of their organization. With this in mind, it is imperative to express correctly your intentions with potential donors, putting first your achievements, your good work and your results. This should be enough to create an atmosphere of confidence and the best scenario to present your case or project.

Never talk badly about any other organization. We are the spokespersons of our organization, the face of our team and the representative of our beneficiaries.

I can certify the excellent results that you’ll have if you never disparage competitors.  Working as a development director of a nonprofit with a presence in more than 25 states in Mexico, our major donors and allied companies always refers to us and our work as impeccable, transparent and trustful. This good practice will lead you to new donors and long-term relationships and alliances.


  • Members shall ensure that any portrayal of competitors is fair, accurate and can be substantiated.
  • Disparaging competitors is unprofessional and unethical, and reflects badly on both parties and the sector.

Examples of Ethical Behavior

  1. Acknowledging competitors and their services, when asked, by portraying them in a manner which is honest and truthful.
  2. Honestly and fairly responding to their portrayal by competitors.
  3. Urging the member’s organizations to adhere to the AFP Code of Ethical Principles and Standards.

Example of Unethical Behavior

  1. Employing deceit in response to claims by competitors.
  2. Misrepresenting the performance of competitors.
  3. Disparaging a competitor’s reputation and capabilities untruthfully.
  4. Spreading unsubstantiated comments about a competitor.

Supported by: 
The Claudia A. Looney Fund for Ethics in Fundraising
The Patricia F. Lewis Ethics Endowment Fund

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